Notable People I Have Met ~ Part Twelve



The Whole Bunch


Frederick Reines:
UC Irvine Physics professor awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995 for discovery of the neutrino.

Ray Bradbury: Author, screenwriter and winner of a Pulitzer Prize lifetime achievement award.

Michael Chabon: Novelist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001.

Sherwood Rowland: UC Irvine chemistry professor who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for discovery of man-made depletion of the ozone layer.

Michael Dukakis: Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee.

Quentin Crisp: Author of “The Naked Civil Servant” and gay rights advocate.

Robert Bork: Solicitor General nominated by President Ronald Reagan for the Supreme Court in 1987.

Chang-Lin Tien: Chancellor of UC Berkeley.

Jack Peltason: Chancellor of UC Irvine and later of the entire UC system.

Oakley Hall: Author of “The Downhill Racers” and head of the UC Irvine writing program.

David Stockman: Reagan administration budget director.

Jack Kelly: Co-star of 1950s TV show “Maverick”

Joey Bishop: Entertainer and member of the “Rat Pack.”

Bill Clinton: Governor of Arkansas running for president.

Sonny Bono: Singer with Sonny & Cher, later congressman and U.S. senator.

Leslie Nielsen: Film and television actor in “Airplane,” “Naked Gun” and others.

Politicians: Dana Rohrabacher, Chris Cox, Bob Dornan, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Kathleen Brown, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Dan Quayle, Ann Richards.

Oliver North: Ronald Reagan aide implicated in Iran-Contra Scandal and later NRA president.

Ed Meese: US Attorney General in the Reagan Administration.

Barbara Bush: Wife of President H.W. Bush.

Mamie Van Doren: “B” movie actress and sexpot.

Arnold Beckman: Inventor of the PH meter and philanthropist.

Duvall Hecht: Founder of Books On Tape.

Steve Allen: Original host of the “Tonight Show” and songwriter.

Daryl Gates: Los Angeles police chief.

James Edwards Senior: Founder of the Edwards theater chain.

Chuck Jones: Animator and creator of Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and others.

John H. Dalton: Secretary of the US Navy.

Arthur Laffer: Supply-side economist who influenced President Reagan’s monetary policies.

C. Everett Koop: US Surgeon General

Boyd Coddington: Hot rod and custom automobile designer.

David Broder: Washington Post writer, political columnist and author.

William Kennedy: Novelist and author of “Ironweed” ~ mail contact

Patrick Stewart: Actor who portrayed Captain Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek.”

Ken Norton: Former boxing heavyweight champion of the world.

Adrienne Rich: Poet

Edward Albee: Playwright

Robert Hass: Poet

Seamus Heaney: Poet, playwright and translator.

Czeslaw Milosz: Poet

W.S. Merwin: Poet

James Roosevelt: Son of and secretary to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

David Harrington: Co-founder of the Kronos Quartet.

John Cleese: Actor and a member of Monty Python.

Robert Pinsky: US Poet Laureate.

W.D. Snodgrass: Pulitzer Prize winning poet.

Louise Gluck: US Poet Laureate.

William Rusher: Publisher of the “National Review” magazine.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist, author, television host & many appearances ~ by email.

Henrik Drescher: Children’s books illustrator ~ by email.

James MacGregor Burns: Historian and presidential biographer.

Marty Baron: Journalist and editor who hired me to work for the Los Angeles Times, later editor of the Washington Post.

Alex Trebek: Host of “Jeopardy” ~ A brief question and answer period during taping of the show.

Jean-Michel Cousteau: ~ Environmentalist, oceanographic explorer and son of Jacques Cousteau.

Rafael Mendez: Trumpet virtuoso.

Gary Owens: Radio and television personality.

O.C. Smith: ~ Singer.

Ralph Humphrey: Drummer who played and recorded with Frank Zappa.

Carlos Vega: Session drummer who toured with James Taylor.

Tom Hayden: California state senator and activist at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Abbie Hoffman: Political activist at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Harlan Ellison: Science fiction novelist and television screen playwright.

Don Callender: Founder of Marie Callender’s restaurant chain.


[And many more who I've either overlooked or forgotten.]


~ by Russ Allison Loar

© All Rights Reserved

The Music Of Sound





S ome people are more visual, some more audial. For me, it was always sound that penetrated my senses deeper than anything else.


I love sound, all kinds of sounds. Like young people everywhere, I found emotional refuge in music while I was growing up. Music was a drug that restored the chemical imbalances in my brain. I loved sound so much I even became a musician for a few years.

So many of the sounds in everyday life sound like music to me, even voices, and that caused problems in elementary school. I was never very good at math, but I had the added challenge of a math teacher with a Swedish accent, Mr. Westman. Every word he spoke sounded like a note. His sentences collected into melodies. His classroom lectures were sonatas some days, jazz improvisations other days.

Then, every once in a while my name poked through the melodic line: “Russell! What is the answer?” I didn’t even know the question. And even when he repeated the question, all I could hear was the music of his voice. I shook my head to signal my complete confusion, accompanied by the laughter of my far more attentive classmates.

After I was adopted and living in my new home, my earliest memory is of the record player at my grandparent’s house next door. It was so tall I had to stand on a chair to turn it on. It was an old 78 rpm record player on the top of a mahogany cabinet that also contained a small black and white television and a radio. I was too young to actually place records on the record player, but somehow, I managed to turn it on and put the needle on the record. The booming sound of the music was magic.

One afternoon I was listening to some old scratchy record of my grandfather’s that could have very well been “New San Antonio Rose,” by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. My grandfather was from Texas and I loved this recording. Suddenly the sound slowed down and the singing slowed down and I thought some kind of monster was emerging from the music. It sounded like the voice of some awful demon accompanied by a train wreck. It was incredibly frightening. That was the day I learned what electricity was, and what could happen if its magic flow was briefly interrupted, for the demon and the train wreck quickly disappeared, and like a movie run backwards, the music reassembled itself and rose again from the darkness of some terrible underworld.

Moon in all your splendor knows only my heart,
Call back my Rose, Rose of San Antone,
Lips so sweet and tender like petals fallin' apart,
Speak once again of my love, my own.

Yes, that was the day my grandfather taught me something about electricity. I also learned something very important that day about fear.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Under The Bed




















I remember seeing a white, colonial building fronted with columns
    on the day I was left at the orphanage.

At least this memory was always in my mind, but knowing how insatiably curious I’ve always been about my biological parents, my biological circumstances, I knew that I may simply have been filling in the blanks of the great mystery that was my first two years of life. After all, I have absolutely no memory of the mother I'd lived with more than a year.

Then one day when I was in my early twenties, I went there. It was the first time since being left for adoption. I'd phoned a social worker who agreed to meet with me, to tell me some basic “non-identifying” information about my parents. As I approached the address, the building came into view. It looked exactly as I’d remembered: A white building, colonial style, columns and all.

What followed is a blank. I don’t remember the foster family I lived with for the next six months and I don’t remember being taken home by my new parents. Many years later, my grandmother told me that for the first few months, every time the doorbell rang, I’d run and hide under my bed. It took me a long time to shake that fear, and even now, I still get the urge once in a while.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Painting by Erin Payne
© All Rights Reserved